It was early morning on May 20. News spread in the commercial capital that a young labourer, a native of Bihar, has been electrocuted to death after he came in contact with an iron panel playing host to advertising boards at the entrance to a commercial building.
Margao MLA Digambar Kamat was quick to order a probe into the cause behind the tragic incident that snuffed out the life of the young 32-year old labourer Ashutosh Anand. That’s not all.
The Margao police spent no time to dash off a letter to the Power department to submit a factual report on the tragedy in order to initiate further action. Power officials, on the other hand, reassured citizens that an Electricity Inspector would conduct a detailed probe to ascertain the circumstances leading to the unfortunate incident and zero in on the unscrupulous traders responsible for negligence, if any, resulting in the death due to electrocution.
Nearly two months and half later, neither the promised probe is on the right track nor those responsible for the labourer’s death has been brought to book. On the contrary, the incident seemed to have been forgotten by the authorities as evident by the fact that the promised inquiry by the Electrical inspector to ascertain the causes behind the incident is yet to kick-start till date.
That’s not all. Given that it is suspected in local circles that the incident has reportedly taken place when an electrical connection taken from a shop to light up an advertisement board is the cause behind the incident, questions are being raised whether the power department as well as the Margao Municipal Council had initiated a probe to find out the number of illegal advertising boards put up by shops and establishments and whether these boards are illuminated with permission from the Power department.
Consider this: When The Goan called up Margao police station in-charge, PI Tulsidas Naik to shed light on the investigations in the labourer’s death, the police officer said he would get back after ascertaining the status with his sub-ordinates since he was on leave during the period when the incident had occurred on May 20.
Last time round, when The Goan had contacted Sub-divisional police officer, Margao DySP Santosh Desai about the probe into the electrocution incident, he was quick to reply that the police probe would depend on the inquiry report compiled by the Power department.
Sadly, inquiries by The Goan have only revealed that the Power department’s probe has hit the dead end for the simple reason that the Electricity Inspector is yet to initiate an inquiry into the incident.
This became apparent when a senior Power official informed that the while the department had sent a request to the Electrical Inspector to conduct the probe, the Inspector is yet to kick-start the inquiry for reasons best known to the department.
Even as the Power official further said that the Electrical Inspector would be reminded to initiate the probe at the earliest, a host of questions have come to the fore.
One, why has the Power department not displayed a sense of urgency in conducting the probe when the electrocution incident has snuffed out the life of a young labourer? Another question remains unanswered – whether the authorities would have displayed the same apathy and indifference if the victim had happened to be a local resident?
Has the Margao Municipal Council and the electricity department learnt a lesson or two from the episode with thousands of advertisement boards dotting the commercial capital, whether they comply to the licensing and safety norms?
With the promised inquiry yet to take off in the unfortunate incident, the authorities will have to answer a simple question -- whether justice will ever be meted out to the deceased and the guilty brought to book for negligence, if any? Or, will this be another case which will be confined to the list of forgotten files?